How-To: Clean the HVAC blower wheel (mouse cage)

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2008 Mazda 5 Grand Touring
Nuts!

I had this problem, a mouse (or squirrel?) was storing nuts in wifes 2008 Mazda 5. The front blower motor stopped working. I cleaned out the mouse cage under the cowl, as well as the area where the cabin filter is. (BTW, what a pain to access the cabin filter compartment). I swapped out the blower motor resistor and so far, so good. Im guessing the interference from the debris blew out the blower motor resistor. Im still hearing debris in the blower motor fan. Is that reachable from the top (the mouse cage) or the bottom (the cabin filter)?

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2006 Mazda5
New to this forum and first post. But have been a viewer for a few years looking up info I needed on a few issues. Took these pics last night after my blower motor got packed full from a mouse. My father-in-law who helps me with my car work knew what to do since he had done this on a neighbors mazda3 once before (dealer quoted them $800!!), but it was still nice to see this write-up and I'm just confirming how easy it is to take care of and not have to take it in for it.

Pic of all that came out, including a metal hose clamp, and screen material we put over to keep this from happening again. Start to finish took a half hour.

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2008 Mazda5 Sport, Manual
I am HOPING that this is just debris ... 2008 Mazda5, and (only) when I turn left, the blower motor squeals (honestly, it sounds like a squealing fan belt). If I un-turn (go straight), or turn right, it makes no noise. This has been happening for about 6+mos. Lately it's gotten a little bit worse, and is definitely worse at higher fan speeds. Mechanic is confused because he believes if it's the motor itself, it should be loud all of the time, but it's definitely not. ... and $600 to replace the blower motor. Any general thoughts?

Thanks!
 
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2010 Mazda 5 Sport
Stupid cars. Being all weird.

I would think your issue is the cage is squeeling...not the motor. Sounds like the motor is running fine.

Yeah, I would see about getting the debris out...and if you can get some White Lithium Grease in a spray can with a long tube applicator...spray it all over the joints, edges of the fan, etc...assuming you can get access to it.

Edit: I read this whole thread...looks like there may be no easy way to get to the motor/squirrel cage to lubricate.
 
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2008 Mazda5 Sport, Manual
Stupid cars. Being all weird.

I would think your issue is the cage is squeeling...not the motor. Sounds like the motor is running fine.

Yeah, I would see about getting the debris out...and if you can get some White Lithium Grease in a spray can with a long tube applicator...spray it all over the joints, edges of the fan, etc...assuming you can get access to it.

Edit: I read this whole thread...looks like there may be no easy way to get to the motor/squirrel cage to lubricate.
THANK YOU!! Great idea to lube - she's not getting any younger!

I think that VIEWING (thus spraying) the fan isn't that horrible - the problem is getting it OUT (and a new one in), as it has to be pushed from the driver side (after removing the pedals etc) to the pass side (after removing glove box and half the dash) ... with airbags in play, I'm not really up for disassembling the dash! :) Plus it's been Stupid-Hot-Degrees here ;-)
 
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2010 Mazda 5 Sport
What could be the harm, right? It doesn't work and you're out a little grease.

Report back what you manage to do.
 
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2008 Mazda5 Sport, Manual
Thank you for your help!!!

Well ... we went at it finally. Hubs found a mouse nest - rather large one - on the OTHER side under the cowl. Got all of that out. There is NOTHING in the cage side at all. But SOMEHOW it is actually 'better'. It does still squeal just a little. Hubs could feel the fan, and it spins freely, and easily, so he also doesn't think it's the blower motor - but we couldn't SEE to see if there's anything else in there.

So - if it's the mouse cage squealing, (and not the blower motor), how/why would it be squealing? What can I do to make it better / worse? We did push on everything we could touch, and pulled out 2 access panels in the process but nothing that seemed like it would make a difference (I guess we should pop those back it! LOL). Never set eyes on the blower motor - thought I could see it, but I guess not. I SUSPECT that it is worse if the vent is set to re-circulate, vs open to fresh air, but haven't taken the time to determine that definitively.

Now, to complicate matters, the other day it was raining hard, I had everything OFF, turned left, and ... she squealed (or groaned!). MAYBE it's just bad luck and I also have a worn belt - but this is definitely different behavior - never made noise with the blower off before. I was out a LOT today, and it only squealed when I had the fan on. It is remarkably worse with the AC on (but I always run on re-circ air), which is why I suspect that that is somehow involved.

Any other thoughts? Or more things to try ?

I love my little Mazda ... it's sad that she's un-well! Going to need a new clutch soon too :-(

Thanks!!
 
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2008 Mazda5 Sport, Manual
Figured I'd come back in hopes that someone posted a miracle cure ;-) A few more tidbits to add - it is ridiculously worse when the car (not necessarily the engine) is very warm - we've had a hot summer! After the AC runs for a while and cools things down, then it's just "bad". It is 10% only when the fan is on - the higher the fan, the worse the noise, and unbearable if the car is also hot. It is still pretty much only when turning left. The exception to this now is - if I turn left, with the fan on full blast, and it starts howling, and I shut OFF the fan, if the car is still HOT, then it still makes noise when I turn it back on. I wish I had x-ray vision! It REALLY seems like the fan, or something, are sliding down a shaft and becoming obstructed. NEW - The other day it was making the noise and I went to turn the fan down, and I could FEEL it vibrating in the dial. This surprised me, but maybe is expected?

Any thoughts, I'd be grateful.
Thank you!
 
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2015 Mazda 5 Sport
Any thoughts, I'd be grateful.
Thank you!
Perhaps an endoscope (search for it on eBay. Likely need an OTG cable to work on an Android phone) will help seeing the thing that makes the noise. Otherwise a dash teardown maybe needed to get to the bottom of it.
 
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